Friday, October 07, 2011

Steve Jobs is dead. Long live Steve Jobs.

He was a polarizing figure; a lot of people loved him like a seer, a lot loathed his ability to make others love him like a seer. Most admired him from a safe distance.

Apparently, he was a mercurial, highly unsentimental man. One of his first acts as CEO was to empty out displays of old products on company premises. He never believed in looking back, he considered it baggage, an anathema to be shunned. He went to great lengths to say the great products of Apple were not made by him alone, but by an army of talented people, doing difficult work.

Despite the 300 or so patents to his name, anybody that has been involved in the making of anything non-trivial knows the many pairs of hands and eyes something has to go through, to make something great. The fact that none of his patents are solely under his own name, bears witness to this fact.

What will really live on is the story of his life. He was born a child out of wedlock, given up for adoption after his birth to relatively poor parents, who could not even finance his education. When success came, he was kicked out of his own company, betrayed. And the final setback that ultimately took his life, contracting a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

Despite all this, he oversaw some of the greatest successes of our time. We love turnaround stories, and Steve Jobs, and by extension, the company he founded, is one of the greatest turnaround stories of our time.

He achieved it not through luck, but through sheer determination of will, faith in himself, and the vision to realize that the times, they are-a changin'.

That will be his legacy. And it won't be just his legacy, but of many unassuming men and women before him, who overcame similar odds to achieve similarly lofty goals.

Mr. Jobs will live longer than most of his mourners. Some of them will rise to the occasion, and live the lessons he espoused. Most will fail, some will succeed. But all of them will be happier for it. And we will all be better off for it.

May he journey well, to whatever lies beyond.


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I write essays in my spare time on things that are important to me. The ones that I feel are any good, or make any sense, I put them up here. :)